Life at the end of the road

September 30, 2009

I ‘WILL’ do it tomorrow

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:26 pm

There was just no way I was sitting in the house doing paperwork today, blue skies, no wind and sunshine meaning that the Vat return and my books were put on the back burner once more. To be honest I should be doing it right now instead of plonking away on here but I’ve just taken that box of wine that’s been sitting on the other backburner since Monday night so doing any kind of calculation is probably not a good idea 🙂

I arose a little later than usual because of my reluctance to set about the VAT return, once up however I soon realised that it was going to be a pure peach of a day and my VAT would just have to remain undone.

The first job as usual was feeding the pigs,

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a task made difficult by Molly wanting to help and the Soay sheep wanting to steel the pig food, whilst the sheep love the food, they should not eat it as it has copper in it, something which pigs need but is bad for sheep. However I was leading them around with the bucket so that I could trap them to treat them for ticks which they have in abundance.

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I soon had them following me and penned in a small secure area on the croft, when I say secure take note of the height of the pen, Soay sheep are not like your average ‘woolly’ and can easily jump your standard fence. They are also immune to dogs insomuch as they don’t herd like a normal lamb chop when confronted with a dog, instead they scatter. I have to laugh when people call them ‘low maintenance’, OK they may be immune to footrot, be very hardy, lamb easily and not require shearing but trying to catch them is something else. They are often referred to as a ‘primitive’ breed, well if being a non primitive sheep  makes you follow the crowd, grow so much wool that someone has to cut it for you and die at the drop of a hat then I suppose they are ‘primitive’ but they’re certainly not daft! Once they’d settled down I gave them 5ml of ‘SpotOn’ down the back and that should sort out they’re ticks.

With the pigs all fed and the sheep treated I went in for breakfast then did a spot of path building,

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shovelling out the beach stones that I’d collected yesterday and then tamping them down with a weight on a stick, this area between the gate and the ark was a swamp a few weeks ago that you could loose a wellie in. Now after some old curtains and several tons of stones you can drive the Land Rover on it.

By now the sun was higher in the sky and the day felt more like late June than the last day of September, so instead of using straw to change all the pigs bedding I cut fresh rushes for them. It lasts much longer than straw as a bedding and as you can see from the picture we have plenty of them. I was changing all their beds because the swineherd had juggled all the pigs around whilst I’d been at work.

Bracken had a sore leg which was not being helped by the low entrance to the shelter she was in with her 8 piglets. Notice I said 8 and not 9, for one had somehow got trapped under the shelter and died. In view of this wifey had moved her into the field on the left of the trailer and the deluxe insulated Bidgiemire only trouble being that this meant we had to evict Bramble and Jamie Lee into the field on the right as a temporary measure before leading out the three Tamworths onto the hill then putting Bramble and JL in their field. Anyway all this moving of pigs meant lots of cleaning and fresh bedding, which in my eyes is far better than sitting on my ar5e in a warm kitchen surrounded by paperwork 🙂

turbine and pigs

Of course I was not the only one enjoying the sunshine, Ginger the Tamworth boar and Shona the Gloucester old spot sow were flaked out under the motionless Proven 2.5kw wind turbine.

Fitting an EGT gauge to a Land Rover

Now the vast majority of readers would be as well to skip this bit because unless you’re a sad individual like me it will be exceedingly boring. If on the other hand, like me  you have been smitten with that irrational obsession that is a love for noisy, oily, smelly, leaky 4x4s that emanate from Solihull then read on and enjoy 🙂

The EGT or exhaust gas temperature gauge is a far more accurate indication of when something’s amiss with your precious engine than the ‘Mickey Mouse’ temp gauge that just guesstimates the coolant temperature. Using a ‘thermocouple’ it can ( if you get it close enough ) measure the temperature of the gasses leaving your combustion chamber and keeping an eye on this when your engine is working hard up a long hill is far more important than the regular temperature gauge as exhaust temperatures can rise quickly and do serious damage before the regular gauge has gone into the red.

This may not be a problem on your regular well made piece of kit that comes from Japan but on a ‘highly tuned’ Land Rover or old bucket like mine that tows an even older caravan it can be! The only problem with them is that A, they are usually very expensive and B, they can be tricky to fit as the thermocouple needs to be drilled and tapped into the exhaust manifold.

I overcame A by finding this–round–single–2-300842-23-p.asp on the internet, with the thermocouple, delivery and VAT it was £66.

Now any sane person would have removed the exhaust manifold to fit it, after all it does require fitting before the turbo charger and any bits of swarf in there could do untold damage. However I had far too many other things to do and had been pondering this for a while. I came to the conclusion that if I drilled and tapped it whilst the engine was running then the positive pressure in the manifold would blow out the swarf.

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So I picked a spot just below the turbo and started to drill with a 7mm drill ( the thermocouple is 8mm x 1mm thread ) once the hole was started I fired up the old girl and continued. It worked a treat and all the fillings got blown out by the exhaust gasses 🙂 Next came the tapping.

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Which was again done, carefully, whilst the engine was running with the tap on a short 1/4” drive extension with the tap forced onto a 5.5mm socket.

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Once the hole was tapped I wrapped a little PTFE tape around the thermocouple insert and wound it in. Here’s a picture of the gauge before I mounted it. That’s 470 degrees C pulling hard up a VERY steep hill in 2nd gear.

I’ve since mounted the gauge and I’m well ‘chuffed’ my only gripes being that A, it’s not backlit and B, the scale could do with starting at 2 or 300 degrees, still the sh1t don’t hit the fan until around 750 degrees and I don’t tow my caravan much in the dark so I can live with that 🙂

September 29, 2009

Filled with dread!!

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:16 pm

I put two exclamation marks after that title because there’s a chance that I already have a post with that title, well after 4 or 500 it’s hardly surprising really. Especially at my age when I have a memory like a hen, anyway the reason that it’s highly likely is that, that is how I feel every time I have to do my VAT return and get my books ready for the accountant and tomorrow I MUST do both. It’s no big deal really it’s just that I hate paperwork of any kind, especially when it’s not pouring with rain and I could be doing something outside.

I am the worlds best at putting things off and realistically I could get away with it for another month but I’m determined to get my books to the accountant before he sends me another letter or phones me for the third time 🙂 So watch this space tomorrow 🙂

Bananas away

Well that’s it, my week before the mast on board the good ship Loch Striven is over, the bananas are finished and after a whole week of black pudding testing I’m ready for a change. In fact, having had between 2 and 4 different varieties of ‘marag’ as it’s called in these parts, grilled, fried or micro waved every morning for the last 7 days I don’t care if I don’t see another ever again, or at least until next week anyway 🙂

Today (Tuesday) was in fact a nice day, dry, unlike the forecast and sharp, sharp as in very clear, clear like the clear you often get after a heavy shower, sharp like HD TV, not that I’ve ever seen HD TV. They do however tell me that you can see the blades of grass on a football pitch with HD TV, why anyone would want to watch the blades of grass on a football pitch is beyond  beyond me but today you good see the blades of grass on Glamaig from the ferry. Well you could see the bracken anyway 🙂

As usual it was the usual Tuesday mad rush to get everything finished ready for the other crew and I busied myself between painting in the forward ‘Voith’ space and colouring the various filler pipes on the car deck.

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Brown and white for fuel,

Brown and green for lube oil,

Brown and pink for hydraulic oil,

Brown and black for waste oil,

Green and blue for fresh water.

This may all seem a little ‘girlie’ but it is not the first time that someone on a ship has filled the water tank up with diesel or the diesel tank up with water!

OK, I know there was no need to paint the hydraulic pipes in the forward ‘Voith’ space pink but I had some paint left over 🙂 anyway, I thought they looked quite fetching over the sewage tank! Or perhaps it was just the paint fumes 🙂

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The ‘Bradan Mor’ followed us out of loch Sligachan.

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During my lunch break I loaded up some shingle off the shore.

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And just as we were tying up for the night, Skretting’s fish farm supply ship Vermland headed south and I really cannot believe how well that picture has turned out because I took it on quite a long exposure because it was getting dark. So dark in fact that the lights on the pier had come on before we tied up. This being one of the years milestones like the cuckoo, the first daffodil, the first chanterelle, the first lamb or the final cut ( of the lawn ). When the pier lights are on before you get in the berth you know that winter is well and truly just around the corner.

Anyway, it’s well after 22:00 now and I’m off to bed and I have not even opened that box of wine that I was saving until I’d finished work 🙂 perhaps I’ll open it tomorrow after the paperwork is done 🙂

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